15 NCAA Div. III individual championships
WAVERLY—The Central College men’s and women’s track and field teams finished third and sixth, respectively, at the Wartburg Select Saturday evening.
The Dutch men scored 151 points, 14 points back of meet champion and host Wartburg and 11.5 points back of St. Thomas (Minn.). The women scored 35 points, while Wis.-La Crosse won the team title in convincing fashion over runner-up Wartburg.
“It was a good day,” coach Joe Dunham said. “I was really proud of both teams. It was a great effort. We focused on progression and getting better this week and we made a big jump today.”
It was a successful day, as multiple Dutch athletes posted personal bests. Dunham credited the coaching staff, as well as the athletes, for the improvements across the board.
“Our coaches do a great job,” said Dunham. “We are able to offer a lot of individualized attention and give quality instruction thanks to our experienced staff. It was a proud moment for me to watch the hard work by our staff, athletes and trainers pay off.
“It was a great day for the Dutch.”
Progression is the name of the game in track and field, as teams are trying to peak at the right moment. Dunham believes Central’s teams are right on schedule.
“We’re tired and sore, but we are getting better every week,” Dunham said. “It’s a great trend and a reason why I love this sport. It was an encouraging day for me on both sides.”
Larson posts top mark in Division III—Multi-eventer Eric Larson (junior, Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) scored 5,271 points to win the heptathlon and move to the top of the Division III leaderboard. The mark was six points shy of his school record set last season.
The Dutch continued their early-season dominance of distance events, finishing 1-2-3-5-6 individually in the mile run and 1-2-3 individually in the 3,000-meter run.
Junior Eli Horton (Runnells, Southeast Polk HS) and senior Austin O’Brien (Bettendorf, Pleasant Valley HS) both finished in 4:13, but Horton was .15 seconds better. Junior Drew Jackson (Johnston) finished five seconds later in third, while junior Jamie Vander Veer (Knoxville) was fifth in 4:20.93 and freshman Isaac Steffensmeier (St. Paul, Fort Madison HS) was seventh in 4:23.40. Sophomore Kyle Nuehring (sophomore, Waukee) finished five seconds later in eighth.
In the 3,000-meter run, O’Brien took the honors in 8:34.15, while sophomore Cole Decker (Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) was second in 8:36.69 and Horton was third three seconds later.
Jackson was also tops in the 1,000-meter run in 2:35.06, .10 seconds slower than his personal best. Nuehring finished less than 10 seconds in back of Jackson for fourth.
“The mile was an incredible race,” said Dunham. “Eli and Austin ran very fast and there were personal bests all over the place. I was really happy with the performance in the 3K as well, particularly Cole’s race.
“Our distance runners are showing what they can do.”
Hurdler Dan Roemerman (sophomore, Iowa City, City High HS) won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.41 seconds. Roemerman also finished eighth in the 60-meter dash in 7.28.
Jumper Logan Mulford (freshman, Mount Pleasant) cleared a personal record 6-5.5 for runner-up honors in the high jump, improving on his Dutch Athletics Classic mark by nearly one inch.
Multi-eventer Jaemin Powell (sophomore, Wellman, Mid-Prairie HS) was fourth in the long jump after a personal-best leap of 20-11.25.
Sprinter Mitch Wagoner (senior, Iowa Falls, Iowa Falls-Alden HS) finished fifth in the 200-meter dash in 23.31. Sprinter Spencer Hammack (sophomore, Ottumwa) just missed his personal best in the 400-meter dash, finishing fifth in 51.92. Sprinter Austin Roberts (sophomore, Bloomfield, Davis HS) was also a fifth-place finisher in the 600-meter run in 1:25.85. Teammate Mason Zimmerman (junior, Urbandale) finished two seconds later in sixth.
Thrower Steven Messerschmidt (senior, Neola, Tri-Center HS) posted a personal record 54-8 for fifth in the weight throw, nearly two feet better than his previous best. Sophomore Chris Davis (Waverly, Waverly-Shell Rock HS) notched a personal best once again with a toss of 44-3, besting last week’s mark by more than two inches.
Dunham noted the improvement of the 4x400-meter relay team of Zimmerman, Hammack, Roberts and junior LJ Lipscomb (Johnston), which was third in 3:25.91, less than two seconds back of first.
Zimmerman leaps top-10 distance—Hurdler McKenna Zimmerman (junior, Urbandale) added the triple jump to her repertoire this year and reached the Division III top-10 list with a mark of 33-8.5, finishing sixth.
Jumper Hillary Hotz (junior, Fort Dodge, St. Edmond HS) finished runner-up in the high jump, clearing 5-3.75.
In her first competition in a Dutch uniform, sophomore transfer Abi Davis (Des Moines, Dowling Catholic HS) finished fourth in the 60-meter dash in 7.95 seconds. Davis joined Central from Loras at the semester break. Sprinter Camie Kibbee (junior, Mason City) placed fourth in the 600-meter run in 1:42.52.
“It was a great first meet for Abi,” said Dunham. "She ran well and is hitting her stride."
Mid-distance runner Elin Phipps (sophomore, Boone) followed up her 1,000-meter win at last weekend’s classic with a sixth-place finish in the 800-meter run, finishing in 2:22.78.
Dunham also recognized the 4x400-meter relay team of Kibbee, Taylor Beckman (junior, Panora, Panorama HS), Melanie Nielsen (sophomore, Atlantic) and Phipps, which finished seventh in 4:09.58.
“The 4x400 team progressed very nicely,” Dunham said. “They ran faster than last week, which is what we are trying to do."
Thrower April McCarthy (sophomore, Stoughton, Wis.) tossed a personal best 36-5.5 for an eighth-place finish in the shot put.
Central continues its seven straight weekends of competition next Saturday at the Grinnell Darren Young Classic, the second consecutive Saturday the Pioneers have competed at home. Last season the Dutch men placed second at the 10-team meet, while the women placed sixth. Teams take their marks at 10 a.m.